When I first switched to the Digital Camera Battery as my external pack of choice I found the product wanting in only one area: flash recycling time. The Nikon SB-28DX, for example, returns to full strength about 2.3 seconds after emitting a full power burst when connected to the battery via a standard high voltage (HV) cable. While this is quick, it's not as quick as the Dynalite Jackrabbit that drove my flashes previously. That pack offers a 1.2 second recycling time with the SB-28DX.
The slightly slower recycling rate was a deliberate design decision; the Digital Camera Battery's HV cables were built to not deliver the full oomph of the battery, thereby lessening the risk of flash damage during continuous flash triggering. For those photographers, like myself, who prefer to throw caution to the wind in the pursuit of the fastest possible recycling times, a new line of cables has been introduced. Called Pro HV cables, they drop the SB-28DX's recycling time to 1.4 seconds, or within a hair of the super-fast Jackrabbit (and Quantum Turbo as well).
But I didn't need a stopwatch to tell me this: it's immediately apparent that the flash is ready to fire faster when working near its power limit. For scrums, or any situation where lots of power and quick recycling translates into a greater chance of capturing the ideal moment, these cables are the answer.
The inline box of the Pro HV
cable (left) is larger than that of
the standard HV cable (right)
The power of the Pro HV cables, which do not replace the standard HV flash cables in the lineup, comes at a price. When purchased directly from the Digital Camera Battery web site, they are a hefty US$198 each, or exactly double the cost of the US$99 standard HV cables.
The cable's inline box doubles in size too. Tim Dodge of Digital Camera Battery expects that the fairly-quick recycle rates of the standard HV cables will be adequate for most users. He also emphasizes that they are a better choice for those concerned about the risk of flash damage posed by overaggressive flash use. But for those making the switch from a Jackrabbit, Quantum Turbo or similar fast recycling pack, the Pro HV cables will offer the performance you've been accustomed to.
The online store on the Digital Camera Battery web site describes the Pro HV cables available. Compatible strobes include the Canon 550EX and Nikon SB-28DX. Not included is one for Vivitar 283/285 strobes; Tim Dodge says that a cable for Vivitar's strobe workhorses, or other shoe mount strobes for which there is not currently a Pro HV cable, can be custom-built.
Over the next few weeks a wack of new Digital Camera Battery products will begin to ship. They include:
Right-angle connector of the
Digital Camera Battery cable
for the Canon EOS-1D
- A power cord for the EOS-1D which features a custom right-angle connector and a urethane plastic cable that is thinner and more flexible - stronger too, says Dodge - than current camera cables.
- A redesigned power cord for Nikon D1-series cameras that will sport a right angle connector and the same cable material as the EOS-1D's power cord.
- Power cords for the Powerbook G4 and late model iBook laptops, as well as certain Sony Vaio models.
- An AC inverter that connects directly to the Digital Camera Battery, enabling it to drive low-power AC devices.
- Two new 12 hour chargers, one with a three pin plug for the UK and another with a two pin plug for continental Europe. In the near future, overseas customers will be able to select one of these chargers in place of the standard North American charger when ordering a battery from the Digital Camera Battery web site.
As I write this, the EOS-1D cable, laptop power cords and AC inverter are already listed in the online store. Also in development is a faster-recycling cord for the Dynalite Uni400Jr, though its release date is expected to be well into 2002. More information on the Digital Camera Battery and its cables and accessories may be found at www.digitalcamerabattery.com or by calling +1 (727) 815-3856.